Panel lacks early years expertise

22nd July 2016 at 00:00

Dear John Swinney,

Congratulations on appointing such a distinguished international committee of experts to oversee the forthcoming reforms in Scottish education based on the National Improvement Framework (TESS, “World experts assemble to oversee Scotland’s reforms”, 15 July).

It’s heartening that two of them have experience of teaching across the entire school age-range. However, none has any specific expertise in early childhood education and care (ECEC) and, since the success of any education system depends to a great extent on the foundations laid during the early years, this is a serious omission.

The Curriculum for Excellence promotes a play-based approach in its Early Level but, for a variety of reasons, this philosophy/policy has not yet been put into practice in the vast majority of Scottish schools.

I am therefore writing on behalf of Upstart Scotland to ask you to invite at least one more expert on to the panel – someone like Professor Lilian Katz of the University of Illinois, Professor David Elkind of Tufts University, US, or Dr David Whitebread of the University of Cambridge – who could inform Scotland’s policy in the most up-to-date research about ECEC.

Sue Palmer

Chair, Upstart Scotland

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